CHARLESTON, S.C. – Georgia Southern starter Justin Hess struck out seven over six innings as the Eagles dealt The Citadel a 5-2 defeat in Southern Conference action Saturday night at Riley Park. The Bulldogs fall to 18-25 on the season and 8-12 in the league. The two teams will play the rubber match of the series Sunday afternoon with a 1:00 p.m. first pitch.
Hess was the beneficiary of 13 Georgia Southern hits, picking up the win by scattering seven hits over six innings and allowing only one run. Jarret Leverett tossed the final three innings for his fourth save, allowing only one hit and striking out two. Five Eagles collected two hits apiece on the evening.
The Citadel tallied the game's first run in the bottom of the opening frame. Nick Orvin opened the inning with a double down the left-field line on the first pitch from Hess. Mason Davis dropped a sacrifice bunt to move Orvin to third and Justin Mackert plated the Bulldogs center-fielder with a RBI single to left center for a 1-0 lead.
Georgia Southern (24-20, 11-9) scored twice in the fourth to take a 2-1 lead. Chase Griffin led off the frame with a single and stole second before taking third on a wild pitch by Connell. T.D. Davis followed with a RBI single up the middle to bring in Griffin with the tying run. A two-out single to right by Zac Lenns put runners on the corners for the Eagles and Davis scored the go-ahead run when Connell's pickoff attempt to first sailed past Bo Thompson for an error on Connell and an unearned run.
The Eagles tacked on three more insurance runs late with a single run in the sixth and two in the eighth for a 5-1 lead. Davis roped a one-out double down the right-field line and Ben Morgan singled to center, advancing Davis to third. Lenns laid down a sacrifice bunt on the safety squeeze, moving Morgan to second and plating Davis with the third Georgia Southern run. Stryker Brown plated Morgan in the eighth with a safety squeeze bunt and Eric Phillips followed with a RBI double to right center for the four-run advantage.
Thompson cut the Bulldogs' deficit to 5-2 in the bottom of the eighth with a solo home run to left, his third round-tripper of the season, but that was as close as the Bulldogs would get on the evening.
Sunday's first pitch is set for 1:00 p.m. and the final game of the series can be heard on Sports Radio 1450 AM with Danny Reed handling the play-by-play.
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